lundi 11 juin 2012

Back in early childhood, when I first saw the icon of Frankenstein's monster I was immediately charmed and possessed by a very strong spirit of inspiration that yield in my mind. The feeling of " That's the coolest horror  ever!"  I cant even remember where I first saw it, but I'm pretty sure I met it as a cartoon and only a few years later realized what it's based on, while stopped before a poster featuring Boris karloff  face. Up to now I've made two works, dedicated/ inspired by this creature. The first one was done after reading Mary Shelley's original book.  I was shocked from how different was what I read from the Idea I had installed in my had for so many years, based on the movies and all additional pulp icons that had accumulated with time.
I eventually exhibited this one at the "literal eyes" group exhibition in the London Miles gallery. Here I added a text that I wrote to explain what led me to create this work :

Oil on Canvas 39.5"x39.5"

  The icon of a flat headed, green skinned Goon, with two bolts protruding from his neck, today is an instantly recognizable cultural image of the 20th century.  The source of it though, is originated from Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, the famous novel By Mary Shelley . Written by her at the age of eighteen on the rainy summer vacation in 1816, this book was an outraging new horror novel. Surprisingly gained a lot of success and recognition very quickly, it was also regarded as one of  first since fiction novels and  was even challenging for society to accept, that such a successful achievement was the share of such a Young female writer. Today however it is noted mainly as a landmark work of romantic and gothic literature.
My choice of using the face of Boris Karloff  from the well known 1931 Frankenstein film by James Whale was intuitive . Like most of my generation I had come to know the story of Frankenstein first with the medium of motion pictures. It was only later, that I red Shelley's novel and was exposed to whole new contents; ideas that deal with questions about humanity in both a moral and existential way, marking down principle core values like Family. Many of these values were never discussed in any of the many horror films that claim to have some relation (even if only by the title) to it. With time this icon of Frankenstein's monster had become a concept child, adopted and nurtured by countless films (horror and comedy) and TV series, mostly within the 30's until the 70's. After getting picked on so relentlessly over the decades, it is now hard to look at the monster's face and feel the same dread and horror that it once must have inspired. Dr. Frankenstein's Creation had been recycled through so many productions and flaunted in so much Pop and Youth culture, it can even be conceived as the green "Mickey Mouse" in a "Horror Disneyland".
I created the scene in this painting in the spirit of  Polaroid photographs, like the well known image of a kid with" Micky ", taken on a holiday . Twisted a little bit, the kid is replaced with a young punkish girl and instead of the carnival, it is placed in front of a familiar urban landscape; a scene from one of the neighborhoods where a young girl like her could live. The confident, naughty look of the amused girl while leading her unique escort by the hand is hinting that this time, the creature is the guest in her world.
The horrifying vision of this creature made from cadavers and woken up to live with a new identity so alien to mankind, is maybe the only idea that was conveyed from the original novel and still reflected in the Whale's films, though it holds within it another content: In the novel , there is a tragic development of events where the creature is been rejected by both his creator and society, causing him an extreme agony ,eventually pushing it to perform some horrible crimes, thus leading it to a catastrophe. Although the zombielike icon of the creature from broadcasting is a contrast to his rich and sensitive mind and intelligence from the novel, there is one  feature that is present in all of productions including the one depicted by Boris Karloff : The creature was innocent and pure at heart and wished to be beloved by man before turned in to a raging monster because Man's prejudice and intolerance rejected him violently.  I find the few Chapters of the novel where the creature tells his history of evolution most touching and fascinating. " I formed in my imagination a thousand pictures of presenting myself to them, and their reception of me. I imagined that they would be disgusted, until, by my gentle demeanour and conciliating words, I should first win their favour and afterwards their love".  As I read how the Creature longed for affection, to be accepted by man after discovering his world, I could guess by the hints and the story's beginning, It would obviously be a tragic failure. Still, I could not stop myself from imagining how it could have been different. How the story could have taken a different turn, twisted in a different direction and in the end bestow on the creature his 'happy ending'.
It is this wish that I tried to express in the painting; concealed within the parodic homage to the horror fiction. In this "vision" I tried to offer the "Monster" the fair chance that he deserved, a chance to win the love and affection, that I believe, all of my generation owe him after growing up educated and amused by his character and story.

I also framed this piece by myself . I made it all by hand using wood, resin and paint to achieve an imitation of a heavy construction  made of steel. the inspiration for it's design was German expressionist cinema and Art Nouveau, But more than all, I was inspired from the old Metro stations in Paris, Where I used to live at the time...

The second work, Frankie's was made after watching The Bride of Frankenstein Movie (in my opinion, a much better and improved sequel to the first Frankenstein Movie of James Whale . This work was actually made twice . The first try was about 80% done when I decided that I am not satisfied from the result hence to some very basic problems in  the structure and organisation of the painting . Those mistakes could not be changed at such an advanced stage of the work and I lost any motivation finishing it, being aware to those mistakes when all I could do is cover what has bin done with the final retouching ...  So eventually I started all over again. I did a massive study of lot's of new photo reference I've collected and shot during more than a week.  

Oil on canvas 25.5"x31.5"

I guess you can compere those two tries and understand what went wrong and what were my attempts. My friend Omer really liked them bout, so after  he was asking very kindly, I gave him the unfinished first version to hang on his wall.

            (the first try)

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